Tuesday, August 1, 2023

On the Shelf: July 2023

It's always strange to me when I end up reading more backlist titles than brand-new books or advance copies. Well, not so much "strange" as telling. It tells me that I really needed a particular sort of comfort, where I look to the familiar instead of the unknown. Beverly Jenkins and Julie Garwood definitely delivered on that front. I will admit seven paranormal steampunk books in a row was a lot. As were four books involving questionable crime-solving and astral projection. But clearly I needed to go away someplace for several books at a time, to inhabit those worlds instead of mine. 

That's not to say I didn't thoroughly enjoy being here in the present, with the two new contemporary romances I read — Cathy Yardley's Role Playing, and When Grumpy Met Sunshine by one of my dear friends, Charlotte Stein. Both writers have authentic, entertaining, voices and capture complicated women in a way that makes you feel so very seen. With the way I've been feeling, I definitely needed to hear the message that messy people deserve love, and they were loud and clear about it! Be prepared to alternate between laughing and crying on your way to two well-earned HEAs.  

The Reading Rundown
What Never Happened by Rachel Howzell Hall (suspense, thriller)
The Duchess Takes a Husband by Harper St. George (historical romance)
When Grumpy Met Sunshine by Charlotte Stein (out 2/6/24, contemporary romance)
Role Playing by Cathy Yardley (contemporary romance)

Backlist titles/rereads: I very appropriately finished Topaz by Beverly Jenkins on the first day of Jenkins July, Romancelandia's now-annual celebration of all things Ms. Bev. I also went diving into Julie Garwood's backlist for another new-to-me read, The Bride. Yeah, I know. These are classics and I'm late—but the wonderful thing about books is that there's no expiration date. I also did a reread of all six of Bec McMaster's London Steampunk books as well as the first book in her Blue Blood Conspiracy spin-off series, Mission Improper. While I still enjoyed the stories, I definitely read them with a more critical eye this time. Less critical eyeing went to the utterly bonkers Dr. Charlotte Stone quartet by Karen Robards, of which I had only read the first title. I'll just say four words about that series: serial killer ghost sex. 

Currently reading: I started a reread of Faking It by Jennifer Crusie.

On the TBR/wish list
The Notorious Lord Knightly by Lorraine Heath
Blood Betrayal by Ausma Zehanat Khan

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